ALCOHOL & MY ANXIETY
So I went to the doctor to chat about my ongoing anxiety issues (I also have depression but never thought I had anxiety issues); if you want to read about them, check out this LINK.
My doctor is incredible, and after chatting to me about it said “often in these situations people can use something else as a crutch to help you get through: drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc; do you find you’re having to have any of these to help you get through“.
Instantly my mind went to alcohol.
I enjoy my alcohol, I’m not going to lie. I enjoy having a glass of wine at the end of the day (and a couple on the weekend when my husband is around); but always in the back of my mind is “what if it’s too much“.
So I do go through periods of not drinking to prove to myself I don’t need it, but after a shitty day with the kids sometimes it’s nice to unwind with a glass.
THIS IS WHERE MY ISSUE LIES (and what my doctor is saying): when you’re using alcohol to help relieve stress, or take you away from issues. Not just once, not just twice, but all the time.
So when he asked me that question, I said “actually yes, I do drink a glass of wine each night“. It was actually a big thing for me to admit this.
I have actually had this conversation with my husband MANY times; about how I love having a glass of wine, but don’t want it to become something I am dependant on.
It always worries me.
So when I told my doctor, he asked “when was the last drink you had”, I confidently said “not since the 31st December”.
I’m actually partaking in the Fizz Free Whanau challenge where our family gives up fizzy drink. Now because we don’t drink a lot of fizzy, I took the challenge to cut out alcohol; and that’s what I’ve done.
Without alcohol in my system (even just a glass), I am finding I feel a whole lot better in myself. I feel more in control throughout the day. I have a lot more clarity; and heck, I sleep a lot better.
I have since done a bit of research into this, and I wanted to share what I read as the experts have said it much better than I could ever put it:
“We think of drinking in two ways: Either you’re a normal drinker. Or you’re an alcoholic. Either you have a serious problem. Or you don’t. But drinking is way more nuanced and much more layered than that.
Maybe you drink a glass of wine every night to alleviate stress or numb the pain. Maybe you drink to temporarily forget your anxiety. Maybe you have a single drink before attending social events because it helps you feel more confident. It helps you to loosen up. Maybe drinking helps to brighten the dark edges of your life. For a few moments. Maybe you’re worried that you look forward to drinking. Too much. Maybe you spend most Sunday mornings worrying about what you said or did the night before.
Whatever the specifics, maybe your drinking just doesn’t feel right.” (taken from Psychcentral.com)
When I read the above my stomach sank because I realised I was like this. Not all of it, but certainly some of it. I read the rest of the article, and finally it went on to say:
“Quitting drinking may or may not be right for you. The key is to explore your relationship with alcohol and to remember that there are many dots along the spectrum (not simply “normal drinker” and “alcoholic”). The key is to explore how you’re using alcohol in your life—and whether it’s time to find healthier ways to navigate underlying issues.”
Obviously I have stopped drinking and will be re-evaluating where I stand, and I want you to know that by writing this blog, I’m not saying, by any means at all, that every person who enjoys a glass of wine each night has an issue. I’m just saying “this is my story and this is what I relate to”.
I recently said to my husband “I think I might just drink on special occasions until I have sorted the shit out in my head”.
Because clearly I have shit to work through and alcohol shouldn’t be used to combat it. Alcohol serves no purpose other than to numb something; it doesn’t help me deal with it.
I usually like to ask you guys a question at the end but honestly this was more about me just getting the shit out of my head. If you can relate, let me know. If you have any thoughts, let me know.